Tuesday, December 22, 2015

We Really DID Get 'Young' People Donating*!

* If you consider 'young' as being over 40.

Do young people actually donate? We want them to...

Not only would it bring us fresh new supporters, and supporters with potentially longer lives to donate - but perhaps we can even make social change through them.

Until the 90s there were NO strategic volumes of people below about 60 donation to charity. Probably about 90% of donors giving repeat gifts were over 60.  This is still the case in countries that have not embraced face to face (direct dialogue).

For some countries, face to face changed the paradigm - and more recently SMS followed by phone call.  The former revolutionised fundraising in many countries, and the latter is trying.  

Here in Australia, nearly 50% of individual donations to the major charities comes from face to face acquisition of regular/monthly/sustainer donors.

And the average age of these new donors is really young - actually around 43.
Donors (age known)
Age at recruitment
Regular Gift
Face to Face
Direct Mail
Regular Gift
Regular Gift
Child Sponsorship
Face to Face
Regular Gift
Direct Mail
Child Sponsorship
Child Sponsorship
Gift To Child
Direct Mail
Regular Gift
Regular Gift
Door to Door Face to Face
Child Sponsorship
Child Sponsorship
Child Sponsorship
Direct Mail
Child Sponsorship
Door to Door Face to Face
But even in this 'young people' fundraising mechanism, we see those below 45 have a much, much lower life time value than their older counterparts.

You can see this in the chart below looking at attrition by age (higher attrition = more people stopping giving).

Face to face is still by far and away the largest volume method to get 'younger' people on board.  But note from the chart the huge attrition rates of those under 35.  It is hard to imagine how a charity could recover its costs of acquisition of under 35s in face to face.

Really, the big bucks kick in after 40.

But should we look at even younger donors? There are so many articles about fundraising from millennials, Gen Y and even Gen X.  But should we bother?

I am scouring the data to find out the answer to that question for you - a blog will be up about it soon.


To integrate or not to integrate: That is the Question

It seems that integrating your fundraising messaging makes sense. 

But what is integration? And is it worth it?

I think it depends on what is your definition of integration, and how widespread it could be.

Let’s look at integration options for a direct mail appeal.  Assuming the same theme, images, story are being used there are all these options for integration for your current donors.  (There are loads more if you include potential supporters – I am just concentrating on current donors, though you may pick up some new ones too).
  • Direct mail appeal letter
  • Home page lightbox / hijack (a pop up when you visit the page
Amnesty International's home page hijack
  • Home page ad (not just a ‘donate now’ button: A call to action referring to the campaign)
  • Facebook updates relevant to your campaign

  • Upload donor emails to Facebook and tailored advertising to them on Facebook
  • Other social media updates
  • Bespoke landing/donate page reinforcing the message
  • Bespoke thank you / what you are achieving landing page
    • Link to share with friends
  • Pre mailing phone call (‘Hi, there is a really important letter coming your way, please can you look out for it?’)
  • Pre mailing email (as above – short email with donation link)
  • Direct mail follow up letter (or letters)
  • Post mailing email (‘Hi – did you get my letter about…’)
  • Post mailing call (as above)
  • Donation thank you email and link to ‘what you are achieving’
  • Second donation ask by phone ‘thank you for your $xxx but I am still short of target’
  • Second donation ask by email ‘thank you for your $xxx but I am still short of target’
  • Second donation ask by mail ‘thank you for your $xxx but I am still short of target’
  • Phone all donations over $x by CEO or someone else really important
  • Post campaign event to explain what is being achieved to top donors
    • Invitations to that event
  • Personal visits for really high donations
  •  …. I’m sure there are more…

Wow.  A load of options there.  And each one will maybe increase revenue by a little bit, and definitely increase costs a bit (time as well as actual expenditure).

So should you bother, and if so – which of the many options are the priority?

First thing to note is that outside of emergencies, the majority of the income is likely to be triggered by your direct mail.  So another direct mail chaser is probably the best option for boosting income at a reasonable cost.

Also, a fair proportion (and it grows every year) will likely donate online. So having the campaign at least mentioned or featured on your home page makes sense, and having a dedicated landing page to back that up would be a good idea.

Following up high value donors by phone is almost certainly going to be a good idea. 

But all the other things are likely to have marginal impact – even pre and post emails.  I recommend that if you do do pre and post emails, you keep the costs down by making the pre email really short and the post email the same as the direct mail letter, but with URL links whenever there is an ask.

If you are expecting to raise a LOT (say over $1,000,000) from your appeal then possibly all of the above integration ideas should be implemented. After all, a 3% boost from pre and post emails is worth $30,000 - but below that you really need to work out the extra income generated and the cost to do that.  It could be marginal.

If anyone has any more tests to share about these please let me know!

I have a workshop coming up in Auckland  in February on integration (and Facebook) register here

And also a shorter intro and tips (free) webinar (register here).

Hopefully see you there!


Disaster Fundraising Guide download it here